Page 17, 2nd June 1939

2nd June 1939
Page 17
Page 17, 2nd June 1939 — Of Persons And Places
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Locations: Silvertown, Rome

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Of Persons And Places

A Roving Causerie

By G. ELLIOT ANSTRUTHER.

SILVERTOWN, a parish now mourning, in Canon Michael Fitzpatrick, the loss of its parish priest during thirty-four years, has a better name than, at a first glance, the place seems to

deserve. In its sheen and shine the popular metal is not in any evident connects,n with the local picture; there have been times, indeed, in that locality, when industrial stress made it rare, too, in homes and pockets.

But actually the place-name is good and fitting, if we consider that Silvertown is really Silver's town, concerned not with the metal but with the man. When the Messrs. Silver decided, a great many years since, to put their rubber factory on the Essex shore of the Thames, they found a place to their liking, possessed of no houses, no markets, not even a public house. They had to provide homes for their workpeople, and a store for trading, and a place of refreshment. All this they did. The " manufacturing village " of Silvertown—for so it is described by a writer in 1.863—grew up, neighbour to the works, as a sort of self-contained little colony. The workers bought their necessities at cost price, and " the beer was pure."

Catholic provision, on a permanent basis, came in 1887, when Canon Timothy Ring, now of Commercial Road, settled in as Silvertown's first priest. His stay there was long and fruitful, and Canon Fitzpatrick also had a long innings for the good work.

* ,„ * * I T is a melancholy coincidence that two parishes of Canon Ring's making have been bereaved of their pastors on the same day. During his Silvertown period the Canon founded the parish of St. Anne. Custom House, to serve the needs of a considerable riverside population by the Victoria Docks. St. Anne's, too, is in dolour. Fr. Charles Carless is dead—the "little priest " of popular esteem with Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

What do they know of Custom House who only the Custom House know? It is of no use to strive to trace the work of Fr. Carless anywhere near Laing's sombre pile In Lower Thames Street; but a few miles further east the stranger need simply ask for the Catholic Club in order to learn what one priest's zeal has done, in that district, in the way of social service.

ar * er IN the church of St. Andrea della I Valle, in Rome, is the tomb of Francesco Piccolomini, Pope Pius III. Was there remembrance last Monday of the fifth centenary of that Pontiff? If so, history will have been invoked with better result to supply the story of the man than of the Pope. In respect of the Papal office, Cardinal Piccolomini had affinity. of sorts, with Browning's girl whose lot it was " to just see earth, and hardly be seen, and blossom in heaven instead." In all the annals of the Papacy, was there ever another so brief a spell of rule as that which struck down the new Pontiff with the strain of the ceremonies, so that he died ten days afterwards?

Speculation has rein, in the case of Pius III, as to whether that Pope might not, had he lived, have played something like a Hildebrand's part in reforming wordliness within the Church. He succeeded a man of very different moral calibre, Alexander VI, to whom his own qualities and virtues, on the word of those who knew him, were in such contrast—Gregorovius, to the contrary, notwithstanding—that it is almost as though. in losing " the Pope of four weeks," the Church lost a servant who might have proved himself worthy, even, of honour at the altars.

* * w*

MISSING: the Great Book of Eye, the Great Red Book which St. Felix of Dunwich, no less, brought to England in the seventh century and is supposed to have used in his missionary work. We read that this precious literary relic " was apparently borrowed some 70 or 80 years ago by a local nobleman, who failed to return it." That local nobleman was one of a large family in failure. But what is to do now? Might not St. Anthony, who retrieves for us so much else of lost property, be begged to do a good turn for St. Felix and the Suffolk town?

At some period in its history, this ancient gospel book passed from Dunwich to Eye, presumably to the Benedictine house established there, in the reign of the Conqueror, as a cell to Berney Abbey. Of that foundation there remains, though much restored, the handsome church of SS. Peter and Paul. That building, in present circumstances, would seem to be the fitting repository for the Great Book, if and when the manuscript comes again to light. Unless, of course, Eye would like to play a still better part by banding the hook over to the Benedictine Fathers at Beccles or Bungay—in which case, it is safe to say, no would-be borrower, noble or otherwise, would be allowed to put the treasure again in jeopardy.

VVWHEN Fr. Vincent McNabb HEN addressed the reunion of the Inter-Religious Fellowship, last week, he had a fellow-Catholic in the chair in the person of Miss Marie Ney. To the public at large Miss Ney is known by her place on the British stage; there are some of us with the additional knowledge of her work, for that profession, on a deeper side, through the Catholic Stage Guild. Marie Ney has helped the guild not only as a member but also as one of its executive committee.

To go through the list of the Catholic Stage Guild's members is to realise how numerous a representation there is on the " boards" of our fellows-in-faith; also to remark the absence of some Catholic professionals whom the guild, doubtless, would gladly add to its roll. A society now of long standing, this organisation owes its existence to the zeal of a convert, Miss Etheldred St. Barbe, who since 1922 has had the Cross Pro Ecelesia et Pontifice in proof that her work as a founder and, for many years. secretary, is one found deserving of honour.




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